There are many, many reasons why I support President Obama. Here are just a few of them.
We all know Mitt Romney is the Mormon in this year’s presidential race. Therefore, we ought to be safe in assuming that Book of Mormon teachings more closely align with his views than those of President Obama.
Alas, if we made that assumption, we’d be wrong.
Let’s examine what the book says and where the candidates stand.
When it comes to the Book of Mormon’s central message—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Redeemer of the world—Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ, and Romney, who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, agree.
On other key topics, however, they part ways.
For example, the book prominently features wars and other conflicts. The subject occupies around 170 of the book’s 531 pages. Prophets often admonish Book of Mormon peoples never to “go up” to war against their enemies. Instead, they must wait until their foes “come down” to their land. In other words, they may fight defensive wars but must never be aggressors. As LDS scholar Hugh Nibley wrote, righteous principles “rendered aggressive warfare impossible and preventive warfare utterly unthinkable.”
In the Iraq War, we saw the United States “go up” to attack a nation that hadn’t attacked us. Supporters of the war deemed it preventive or preemptive. Romney strongly supported the war, favored increased U.S. troop levels as it dragged on and criticized Obama’s decision to end it. Obama, on the other hand, opposed the war from the start. As president, he terminated U.S. troop involvement in December 2011.
The Book of Mormon also declares that righteous nations must treat prisoners of war humanely. In Alma 62:27-29, prisoners not only were freed, they were given land and were welcomed into the society. On another occasion, prisoners were allowed to depart promptly in peace after a bloody battle (Hel. 1:33). Centuries later, however, after both sides had rejected God, they abused and tortured their prisoners (Moroni 9:7-10).
In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the war on terror, U.S. soldiers and our agents have engaged in a variety of abuses and torture of prisoners, including waterboarding. Among the most infamous sites of prisoner abuse has been Guantanamo.
Romney declines to renounce waterboarding, and his aides have said that he does not view it as torture. His support of “enhanced interrogation techniques” has drawn strong criticism from 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Romney also has said, “Some people say we should close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.”
Shortly after taking office, President Obama issued an executive order halting harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. He has sought to close Guantanamo but has faced stiff resistance from Congress.
In terms of military spending, Nibley assures us that when the Nephites were righteous, their “military preparations were defensive—minimal—with God acting as their radar and warning system.” Rather than “minimal” defense spending, Romney wants to restore American power and has pledged to boost the military budget by close to $2 trillion over the next 10 years, adding 100,000 soldiers. (U.S. military spending is by far the world’s largest.) Obama favors significant cuts to the military budget.
Clearly, it is Obama, not Romney, who heeds the counsel of Book of Mormon prophets on war. His actions prove that he regards Christ as the Prince of Peace rather than the Prince of Preemptive War.
Another yardstick measuring the uprightness of Book of Mormon peoples is how they treat the poor.
During the longest peaceful era in Book of Mormon history, the people established economic equality—“they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor” (4 Nephi 1:3). Earlier, a prophet rebuked those who neglected the poor and who allowed great disparities to develop between the haves and the have-nots (Alma 4:11-13). The practice of “oppressing” wage earners was condemned (3 Nephi 24:5).
The Book of Mormon stresses equity. In Mosiah 18:27 we read that those with high incomes should give “more abundantly” and that for those with little, “little should be required” and “to him that had not should be given.” King Benjamin reminds his people that he has only sought to serve them “and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you.” Prophets denounced taxation that enriched the wealthy and those in power while burdening everyone else (Mosiah 11:3-6; Ether 10:5,6).
Romney deserves credit for leadership at Bain Capital that rescued some companies that might otherwise have gone out of business. But his actions widened the gap between the haves and have-nots, with people like himself and others at the top reaping multiple millions in income while many at the bottom lost jobs and saw jobs shipped overseas where it is legal to oppress wage earners by paying them below minimum U.S. wages. Romney favored a minimum-wage hike early in 2012 but then reversed his position. His proposed boost in the military budget would come at the expense of social programs that aid the needy. President Obama has supported hikes in the minimum wage and is often called a socialist for supporting programs that help lower-income and unemployed Americans.
Although both candidates can be viewed as wealthy, Romney’s 2010 tax forms, the latest he has released, show income of $21.7 million, 13 times greater than Obama’s $1.7 million. But Romney paid federal taxes of only 13.9 percent while Obama’s federal tax rate was 26 percent. In order to reduce the gap between the haves and have-nots and help cut the deficit, Obama favors allowing the tax cut for people making more than $250,000 annually to expire. Romney would extend the tax cut for the wealthy, making it easier for high-income Americans to continue paying lower overall rates than those of modest income.
Another prominent Book of Mormon message is to beware of pride while remembering “your own nothingness . . . and humble yourselves, even in the depths of humility” (Mosiah 4:11). Prophets rebuke those who feel they deserve their riches and who claim “every man prospered according to his genius” (Alma 30:17). Part of this pride among the Nephites also manifested itself in feelings of national superiority and boastfulness after military victories.
In his 2010 book “No Apology,” Romney lays out the case for American greatness. He vows to “never again apologize for America.” He has reminded critics of his income that America's capitalistic system allows some to accumulate great wealth (“I’ve been extraordinarily successful”) and that those who are less successful should avoid “the politics of envy.” President Obama has apologized for American mistakes that have offended other countries, such as the burning of a Koran at a U.S. military base. He has stated that no one achieves success alone but instead receives help every step of the way.
On immigration, the Book of Mormon offers a limited “open door” policy. If people are willing to be good citizens, the attitude is “y’all come.” For example, when believers among the Zoramites found themselves expelled from their country, they entered the land of Jershon. The people of Jershon, being righteous, did not say, “You don’t have proper papers, so self-deport yourselves back to where you came from.” Instead, Jershon “did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance” (Alma 35:9).
Mitt Romney coined the phrase “self-deport” in saying those who lack citizenship papers should leave the country. He has opposed the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for those brought to the United States as children. He also supports making English the country’s official language and has said Arizona and other states should be allowed to enact their own immigration laws. Obama halted deportation of young undocumented immigrants in June 2012 and supports the DREAM Act. He also directed the Justice Department to pursue its successful challenge of Arizona’s “show me your papers” anti-immigration law.
With Mitt Romney’s positions so often contrary to the Book of Mormon, what shall we say to Mormons who support him? Perhaps a one-word answer is best. It’s a word that repeatedly pops up in the Book of Mormon: Repent!
Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more dangerous than fear. We learn about that in Sunday school all the time. I want to talk with you a little bit about the fear of being open about political opinions. I am not suggesting that anyone is wrong or ignorant for being quiet about their support for President Obama, and I certainly am not giving expert advice on the topic. But I want to point out a few things on the topic of fear of sharing political opinions. Here’s why:
1. This is America. You are entitled to freely express your political opinions without fear of repercussion from the federal government. Oftentimes in our culture we extend this to mean that you shouldn’t fear repercussions from anyone simply because of your beliefs. This security to state your stances freely is fundamental to our identity as Americans engaging in the political dialogue of this nation.
2. The concept of declaring your beliefs freely is also deeply engrained in Mormonism. From the oft-quoted Romans 1:16 (For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ) to the brave and heroic examples of our pioneer ancestors, we have a strong tradition of actively making our true convictions known, even when to do so puts us at odds with those around us.
3. Even if, after boldly admitting that you support President Obama, someone were to react negatively such to make you regret being open about it- their intolerance is their problem. As Mormons, we are told to surround ourselves with good people. There are plenty of good people who may not share our political beliefs but appreciate civil discourse and sharing opinions with an open mind. If someone you meet is going to give you a hard time about your beliefs purely because they disagree with you, it might be a good time to evaluate if they will be a good influence on your life in the first place.
Granted: there may be people already in your life, such as friends, family, and coworkers, who may be intolerant and unavoidable. How you handle those relationships is of course a personal decision. Additionally, I am not suggesting that we should risk death or any other extreme outcome in exchange for openly supporting President Obama.
What I am advocating for is a little less fear and a little more faith.
I openly admit that I relish the occasional dirty looks from people who are anti-Obama when they see that I support our President. It reminds me that "there must needs be opposition in all things," and that there is still a lot of work to do to re-elect him.
Every day that goes by when another person finds out that I’m an Obama supporter (it usually becomes known pretty quickly- as I said, I’m extremely open about it) and they get excited to find someone who shares their passion, I am grateful that I put on that Obama shirt or brought my Obama water bottle with me. I cherish the opportunity to connect with like-minded people and to express my deeply held opinion that Barack Obama is the best candidate for President. No amount of insult, derogatory gestures, or rude glances can invalidate that belief. I'm not suggesting that my commitment to Obama is deeper than anyone else's- simply that I choose to risk negative encounters because I value finding those few people in Provo, Utah who do also support the President, and those positive encounters are worth the risk for me.
If we all stood a little taller, spoke a little more freely in the appropriate settings (i.e. not at church), opened our minds to the possibility that those who we thought previously would brazenly disparage our opinion might not be as churlish as we had imagined- who knows what deeper relationships and more significant connections we might develop.
Conversely- for every opportunity we pass up to share our convictions about supporting our President, we’ll never know which voter we may have reached, directly or indirectly, who might have cast the deciding vote for President Obama.
So perhaps now would be a good time to take a minute; think about how you represent yourself and your beliefs. Heading into the heated and controversial campaign season this fall, we could have a little less fear and a little more faith that the benefits of being open about our support for the President will far outweigh the potential for push-back.
106 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION 2012
Post by Joseph M -
Mitt Romney and Joe Biden both took turns politicking in front of the NAACP's annual convention, and Romney's big booing was widely played on cable news networks and across the internet. But what you haven't heard is that Vice President Joe Biden was also booed - for telling the crowd he would be closing his speech. Yes, Biden received a much friendlier reception. Just watch a few minutes of each speech, and listen to sounds of the crowd; when Romney is speaking you can almost count out the 5% of African Americans that will be voting for him in November. Even the music greeting the two speakers is in complete contrast: Biden's intro sounds like the start of a party, while Romney's "God Bless America" intro sounds like it's being played by an organ at a funeral.
But putting all of that aside, I am must applaud Romney for attending the convention (while George W. turned down invitations repeatedly.) However, he made a misstep or two, starting with one of his opening lines: "I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of American African American families, you would vote for me for president."
Firstly, I listened to this line repeatedly: was his "American African American" line a verbal stumble or was Romney just trying to differentiate African Americans from Canadian African Americans? Secondly, I find it a bit preposterous that Romney would claim to know (in his heart of all places) what is really best for the African American community. He proved that he does have a handle on all the negative statistics that circle and stereotype African Americans when he said, "the unemployment rate, the duration of unemployment, average income, and median family wealth are all worse for the black community." But I am fairly certain that he doesn't have some magic trick to solve these issues - if previous Republican administrations didn't make significant inroads here, why should anyone expect that Romney would or can?
[caption id="attachment_1295" align="alignright" width="300"] George Romney hugs son Mitt, 14, and wife, Lenore, at a Detroit news conference on Feb. 10, 1962, after announcing he would seek the Republican nomination to be Michigan's governor.[/caption]
That said, the story of Mitt Romney's father, Michigan Governor George Romney, is an interesting one. He spoke out in favor of civil-rights and pushed for reforms to counter discrimination in housing. Due to this, he faced opposition from leaders in his own party and from angered whites in his state. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has stayed away from discussing race or even his father's civil-rights legacy. According to Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times, "Romney has campaigned over the past year in front of predominately white audiences," and he is "a far more conflict-averse candidate than his father." And apparently, discussing his father's legacy could cause conflict with the conservative base.
But clearly the black vote is not what Romney is after, considering that even the African American Mormon vote seems out of reach; (see this article in the New York Times.) Some theorize that Romney has even given up on winning the Latino vote, and that his outreach efforts to Latino Americans can be summed up by his bungled Spanish language campaign ads; even his new ad featuring his Spanish-speaking-missionary son Craig (the curly-headed one, in case you're keeping track) is only being played in limited markets - with just $57,000 total air time bought, (and as of this writing, the dang video won't even play on Romney's website!) Governor Romney is aware that his chances at winning over this group is limited, and as Eric R pointed out, his stance on Latino immigration is at odds with the official position of the LDS Church. So that just leaves the white vote - and this is where Romney really has his greatest opportunity.
In 2008, 43% of white voters cast their ballot for Obama, while 55% voted for McCain. We might expect similar numbers in 2012, although some (including Obama himself) express concern that the President may have lost his luster. With continued unemployment issues, his "gray hair", and "Republican obstructionists" to Obama's brand of change, these white voters may be shedding their white guilt and their enthusiasm for President's message of hope; this is also evident among the young white vote, and this could result in many of these youths not turning out to the polls. Additionally, white blue-collar men have decreased from 34% to 28% in their support for the president.
So with these trends among white voters continuing, can Romney expect a win in November? Some have noted that although whites are still the dominant race in America, Latinos are now at 16%, followed by African Americans at 13% and Asian Americans at 5%. By some estimates, the percentage of people of color in the USA will overtake whites by 2050 - (minority births have already overtaken white births in the US.) And this is where Obama's reelection will ultimately be found. The minority electorate has grown in the past four years, and voter suppression aside, Obama may not need those extra white votes. So even if Obama experiences some loss of love among white voters, will that necessarily equal more votes for Romney? Probably not. It probably means more people staying home on election day on both sides of the political spectrum.
A year ago, The National Journal did a whole bunch of calculations that looked at Obama's 2012 reelection chances in light of race and the nation's changing demographics. The article is long, cumbersome, and impossible to digest if you aren't being tested on it for your American Heritage final exam, but this here is a pretty good summary paragraph:
"So even if Obama’s support slips among whites, Republicans will face a tough uphill climb if they cannot capture more minority votes. Carlos Curbelo, a Miami-based GOP consultant, asserts that Republicans cannot win if they allow Obama to keep two-thirds of the Latino vote he attracted in 2008. The first step toward turning some of that support, he contends, is aggressively pursuing those voters with Spanish-language advertising. 'Some Republicans say, ‘We do not want to advertise in Spanish because it sends the wrong message,’' he says. 'We need to get to them, no matter what channel they are watching, or magazine they are reading.' And once Republicans have Hispanics’ attention, Curbelo insists, they must make the case that Obama abandoned his 2008 promise to emphasize comprehensive immigration reform. 'There is a gaping hole in the president’s campaign,' he argues."
At this point, President Obama is reaching out to these groups and plugging this "gaping hole", as we saw recently with his announcement that the US will no longer seek to deport undocumented immigrants who came to America as children. So as we march onward to November, we may find that ultimately, the white vote might not be so great after all.
With Barack Obama and Mitt Romney so close in many national polls and Mitt Romney outspending the President in both May and June, it is imperative that we do more than just “like” Barack Obama on Facebook. We all have busy lives, and we all have pressing demands on our checkbooks that limit us from making more financial contributions to causes that we believe in; but for all of us who believe that President Obama is the best candidate, we must volunteer our time as well. Even just one hour each week, or a few minutes whenever you have time, could be the tipping point for helping our President win another four years in office.
Join Dashboard! Go to www.dashboard.barackobama.com and sign up. Dashboard is the official, brand-new, online campaign organizing tool for President Obama, the likes of which has never been seen before. It is a one-stop shop for all your election needs: you can connect with fellow pro-Obama people near you, get in touch with your local Obama for America office, access resources and videos about President Obama’s accomplishments, make calls on behalf of the campaign, see the calendar for events in your area, and report your efforts at the end of each day to better help the campaign crunch numbers and analyze data.
You can also join groups on Dashboard to get more updates and information about events specific to different issues. Consider joining the Mormons for Obama group found here!
If you live in a red state, it is possible that your Obama for America office is a single-staff office, meaning that the only person paid by the Obama campaign to work there is the state director. The rest of the staff is unpaid. On the west coast for example, single-staff states include Utah, Idaho, Alaska, and Hawaii. If this is the case, your Obama for America office probably shares office space with your state’s Democratic Party. Other states have their own office for Obama for America. These offices act as exciting campaign hubs for Obama supporters, and the volunteers would love to have you stop by!
Contact your local Obama for America team! When you sign up for Dashboard, it should put you automatically onto your local team and send an email with your name to whoever is the field organizer. For example, I am the field organizer for the Utah County, Utah team, so I get an email every time someone joins Dashboard who lives in my geographic area. I personally try to contact everyone on my team to let them know of opportunities they could take advantage of- but every team is different, so do some exploring and contact your field organizer if you don’t hear from them.
Depending on where you live, the closest official Obama for America events might be out of driving distance. Be still your soul! It is easy to host your own event and invite people from your area to join you. You could host a screening to watch The Road We’ve Traveled, the 17 minute documentary about President Obama’s first four years in office. You could invite someone from your community to come speak about why your community should support President Obama and have a discussion. Your local Obama for America office can give you specific tips, resources, and guidelines for how to make the event a success.
Get involved with your neighborhood team! Your local Obama for America office will help you find out which volunteers in your area have already formed one. Neighborhood teams are the nucleus of the grassroots organizing structure- the idea is that by promoting President Obama’s achievements on the community level, you will have much more influence. Check out this short video for more explanation on what a neighborhood team looks like.
Attend events, host events, and participate online! Any amount of effort you can spare goes a long, long way. On Dashboard, you can click on Make Calls, then choose which state and for what issue you'd like to call. There are multiple scripts (Women for Obama, Environmentalists, Economy, etc) you can use to call people and discuss President Obama's strengths on that issue to try to sway undecided voters. You can make calls anytime during day time and evening hours right from your own home on your own time. At the end of the day, you can Report Your Activity so that the campaign can better analyze their data and hours submitted by volunteers. If you can also get involved with events, that is even better.
As you get more involved with efforts to re-elect our President, I believe you will feel the satisfaction that you participated in something you believe in. On the night of November 6th, as the poll numbers are coming in and the nation sits on the brink of one presidency or another, you will know you contributed and did your part. If you think that President Obama is the better candidate, I urge you to take these small and simple steps to help re-elect him.
118 DAYS TILL ELECTION 2012
I have been told I live in the field. I’m not talking about the mission field that is white already to harvest - Utah is actually rather cloudy and brown right now from all the fires, not to mention the raining ash. (Last days, anyone?) I’m talking about a unique field in which I’m a progressive liberal Mormon living in the heartland of conservative, Mormon majority, Republican Utah. I’m a sophomore Political Science major at BYU who works full time at the MTC, and every day I am reminded that I’m different (and not just because almost everything I own is plastered with Obama stickers and logos).
I wasn’t always so vocal about my political opinions here in Provo. During my first few months at BYU, I distanced myself from identifying with any party; I knew I was liberal, but I was hesitant to endorse a platform about which I felt under-informed. I feared the inevitable moment when some far more educated person would tear my opinions to shreds with their superior evidence and research. But the more I found myself making pro-Democratic comments in my small Honors American Heritage class (many thanks to my professor, Greg Taggart, for always giving me the floor to make the opposing point) and the more I studied the issues, the more I realized I needed to come out of the closet and simply embrace my affiliation with the Democratic Party.
Since then, I’ve become much more comfortable with identifying as a Democrat - not just because I can’t in good conscience endorse the alternative, but because I believe so strongly in the vision and commitments of the Democratic platform. While it’s annoying to frequently hear anti-liberal, pro-Fox News comments, and while I am in the political minority of students at BYU, living in Provo has forced me to be able to articulate exactly what I believe and why I believe. I’ll always be grateful for that.
I’m proud to say, and I say it at every opportunity I get, that the BYU College Democrats is the largest College Democrats chapter in Utah. I love the shocked expression people acquire when they hear that, because it emphasizes that Mormons are not a unified voting bloc, and that the youth and young adults of the LDS Church will become increasingly more diverse in their political views than ever before. We’ve seen already the groundswell of support for the LGBT community within the Church, and much of that support comes from young adults who did not grow up with the same biases and culture that older members of the Church may have.
Of all the challenges of being a liberal in Provo, the deepest and most hurtful will always be the questions of my faith. I don’t write about this to ask for your pity or to encourage you to be more loving to everyone. I write about this simply because it is the hardest thing for me about being a liberal in Provo. It’s not easy to be told that you have less faith, that the path you are on will likely lead you to become apostate, if not at least to leave the Church, and that then your future children will grow up outside of the gospel all because of your selfish choices. When I was quoted for an article about Pro-Obama Mormons back in May, the comments users added online questioning my standing in the Church were the most troublesome. When the ruling on the Affordable Care Act was announced, (I was eagerly listening to C-Span live with headphones on my computer at work,) I wanted to leap for joy and celebrate. But as my other coworkers at the MTC began to trickle in (this was 8:00 AM in Utah, being two hours behind D.C.), I could see their crestfallen faces. It was the only time I’ve been really glad that they all know I’m a Democrat - I did my best to hide my glee, and they shut the door so I could only hear muted expressions of their frustration and anger.
It’s this mutual agreement to leave each other space to celebrate our views that I appreciate the most, and at the same time it’s a cause of concern, given that it’s only July now and there’s still several months before the election. Because I am the field organizer for Obama’s campaign in Utah County, the Co-President of the BYU College Democrats, a volunteer for several local political campaigns, and because I hope to be more involved with Mormons for Obama efforts, I can sense that my political activity will lead to some kind of conflict sooner or later.
But despite all the tensions I’ve already experienced and expect to experience as a progressive Mormon, I know I can never go back. I’ll always feel a connection to that wonderful hymn-singing, nourish-and-strengthen-our-bodies praying, no-TV-on-Sunday, family-home-evening culture I was blessed to be raised in, but I will continue to study and seek after more knowledge about my questions without clinging to the conservatism that was also part of that culture. And with all its quirks and all my questions, I know my own journey of finding my way through this concentrated conservative field as a liberal Mormon will not be a walk in the park.
But we are all enlisted till the conflict is o’er, and that won’t just be November 2012. I look forward to the challenges in the hopes that I can convince even just one soul to understand why I believe what I do. Who knows, maybe I can plant some seeds in this field.
(This post by Laura was originally published on 2.9.2012. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, we are reposting it today.)
I was at the National Hispanic Medical Society conference in Washington DC when the House agreed to the Senate's amendment of the Affordable Care Act, on March 23, 2010. The energy and excitement was electrifying! My feelings that day are the same today--the Affordable Care Act is monumental and critical for our country. Indeed, it is one of the primary reasons why I support Obama wholeheartedly.
My favorite facts about the Affordable Care Act:
- Expands health care to 32 MILLION Americans
- Insurance companies are prevented from dropping sick people
- Insurance companies cannot deny children coverage if they have a pre-existing condition
- No lifetime caps on coverage
- Cost: $940bn over 10 years; but it would reduce deficit by $143bn by tackling fraud, abuse, and waste
- Expands women's health preventative coverage, including services such as well-woman visits, mammograms, domestic violence screening, screening for STIs, and access to birth control without charge
Of the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama said "A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.'"
One of the most controversial aspects of the Affordable Care Act is this concept of the "individual mandate" or requiring people to have insurance. The individual mandate is really important because it reduces the overall costs of health care for everyone. But don't take my word for it. Heck, (not h-e-ll, we are mormons after all) don't take Barack Obama's word for it!
"If you don't want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill, because under federal law if someone doesn't have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. So we said, no more, no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care."
Mitt Romney, defending the 2006 Massachusetts Health Reform in a debate with Rick Santorum, Jacksonville, Florida, 1/26/12
YES! More cowbell. At a time when partisan politics have harshly criticized the 2010 US health care reform, I long to hear Mitt Romney defend the Massachusetts Health Reform! I believe there are far more important reasons for health reform (like, uhh, helping people), but it is soooo refreshing to hear it defended in 'Republican speak'.
I'm not the only one who feels good about this. Of Romney's words, Prof. John McDonough from Harvard School of Public Health said, "Romney has given in this entire presidential campaign last evening what I believe is the most effective and persuasive rationale and defense of the individual mandate."
A recent study reports that Taxachusetts (as my in-laws so lovingly call it) is doing very well after the 2006 health initiative. Access to health care remains high, emergency room visits are down, and there has been some improvements in health outcomes.
"I gotta fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!"
President Barack Obama, you gained my (second) vote on March 23, 2010. And I personally thank you for on behalf of all 32 million Americans who will now have access to health care!
Post by Doctor LauraClubFancy, your health care correspondent-
The 110 page ruling by the Supreme Court largely upholds the Affordable Health Care Act, including the individual mandate. And Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote based on the understanding that penalizing people for not having health care is a tax.This is a victory for President Obama and a victory for all of us, including our fellow (conservative-leaning) Americans who somehow don't know a good thing when they see it.
This will signal a shift in the election 2012. Many people will begin to look at Obama and the healthcare law differently now that this is decision has been handed down. Republicans will paint it as a tax, but the President will be able to claim a victory - and the implied insult of calling it Obamacare will fade and diminish, and this supposed pejorative will ultimately give President Obama the credit he deserves.
President Obama's official response on the ruling on C-SPAN2
I wish I could see an Excel sheet printout that enumerated all the going-ons during the many Sunday School lessons taught this past Sunday (of which Mosiah 29 was discussed.) I read a couple of comments on the Mormons for Obama Facebook group and heard a few things from some friends, and apparently this is a nearly impossible lesson to present without it getting political - although from a distance, it is somewhat difficult to see why. (But then again, from a distance, we all have enough and no one is in need either.) Mosiah 29 is about righteous government which is something we all can agree on, but invariably someone makes a comment that alienates or isolates another. Of course, we'd assume that since we are all Mormons we could find common ground, but alas...
I suppose that some of our conservative Mormon brothers and sisters think that Obama is leading the country down to hell (King Noah-style), and some of our liberal LDS friends think that Romney will serve a similar function. Thus, our Sunday School teachers must pull out the proverbial cattle prod and steer their students in the paths of political neutrality. (But really we should just stagger the study material by one year. Why is it that we have to study this chapter during the presidential election cycle?) Interestingly, while most Mormons tense up when political topics are broached at church, other Christians relish in it. (Jeremiah Wright?) I read an article once that quoted Larry King, (who sometimes attends church with his LDS wife,) saying that Mormon sacrament meetings were so far-removed from politics and current social issues that they were boring. Well, maybe he didn't say that exact quotation, but according to this report on the Cougarboard, he became so frustrated during one testimony meeting, he swore and threw his hands up in disapproval.
But ultimately, discussing politics is not the end goal of church attendance; our hope is to learn to be more like our Saviour. However, in our attempts to be better Mormons, we sometimes forget the importance of being a good Latter-day Saint. We have received several emails that express appreciation for the site - for the connection people feel in finding other Mormons who share their political beliefs. I've also read similar comments on the Mormons for Obama Facebook group, and I believe that this comes from a sense of being alone in the (ward) world. While we should feel a kinship with our fellow saints, sometimes the side comments, questions, and accusations can set us apart.
Here is a part of one email we receieved: "Before a general priesthood meeting our ward met for a party, and it was tough to hear (one of the leaders in the ward) complain about Obama 'always talking about feeding the poor - feeding the poor!' I just couldn't bring myself to point out the irony of the statement just before we heard Apostles of the Lord tell us that we are our brother's keeper."
Another email said this: "Most of the time I feel like I'm in hiding about my "true" self in my small (a little blue dot in a red state) town. I feel I can't really be myself without being ostracized for my political beliefs. They're just a few of us in this town, and we've vowed (behind the scenes) to stick together. But mostly in silence...I don't want to fight and bicker and lose friends, so I just keep my mouth shut."
Seriously. We shouldn't feel alone at church. And this type of thing is the exact opposite of Alma's invitation to the Nephites to be baptized in the Waters of Mormon (Mosiah 18:8-10). So I guess the point is something like this: conservative Mormons, don't forget that you have liberal Latter-day Saints in your midst! And liberal Latter-day Saints: let's show love for those Fox-News-watching, Rush-Limbaugh-listening, Ann-Coulter-book-reading, Glen-Beck-loving Mormons on our home and visiting teaching lists!
And of course this is true even amongst Obama supporters; we have some huge differences in our thoughts and interpretations. This was evident as we tried to address the issues of marriage equality; after reviewing our posts, one reader of the website felt alienated by the articles supporting Obama's position. So I am trying to remember: regardless of how far apart I might feel from the gun-toting, SUV-driving, Romney-voting Mormon sitting next to me in Elder's Quorum, he is my brother in the gospel, and we have more that knits us together than that which divides.